Rescue a crashed or infected Drupal website

In my more than a decade of Drupal practice, it has never just crashed out of the blue. However, there are cases, when Drupal can be crashed. When I say "crashed", I mean you either see some serious error messages when trying to view your site, but no site itself, or even a white browser screen without anything on it. Some of the ways how your Drupal can be crashed are:

  1. You had a developer working on your code base who has not written quality code.
  2. You had a maintainer doing updates and not doing them correctly, corrupting code base or database.
  3. Your hosting provider's server has malfunctioned and corrupted your code base or database.
  4. Your hosting provider's server stopped working correctly or changed settings without telling you.
  5. Your site has been hacked and inserted code that crashes it.
  6. Your site has not had maintenance or has not been set up correctly, and has bloated up and broke.
  7. You are having too many page visits, and your server has exhausted memory trying to handle them all.

Crashed Website

As you see, there are many ways to break things. The solutions that would simply require adding more RAM or correcting a few lines of code are the easiest ones. Some issues, however, like failing server hard drives, exhausting disk space, meddling with database without expertise, or performing updates without expertise, can lead to a corruption of database, which would be harder to fix than just a few lines of code. Also, some hosting providers, even the big ones, sometimes vehemently deny that their negligence has lead to a crash, and are protecting themselves with a layer after layer of inept support officers, who will blame you thrice before even looking into the problem on their end. I am talking about some big hosting players here.

If you need help to estimate what has crashed your website, consider contacting myself or another professional, before you start editing the database and moving around files, or blaming the hosting. The important thing is to diagnose the crash correctly and handle it professionally. Its like treatment - the more you do self treatment, the higher are the chances that you will need to spend more in the end.

Infected Website

Hacking and infecting a website is another issue that I can help you with. Infection can be one reason why your site can be crashed. If hackers were professionals, though, they are likely to handle your code base correctly, and insert spoof links, keywords, and malicious javascript code in your site. Usual antivirus tools won't usually help, because they are trained to find viruses, not spoof links and malicious code that runs on the server. There are some ways, however, to tell if you have been hacked:

  1. Your site has been blocked in Google, and Google Chrome shows a warning, that your site has been infected.
  2. You hosting provider has suspended your site for being infected.
  3. You see links, ads, texts, popups appear on your site, that you never placed there.
  4. You are seeing some strange or suspicious error messages that were not there before, that contain some strange encoded symbols.
  5. You receive complaints from your friends or clients about any of the above.
  6. Your site has crashed, sometimes without an error message.
  7. As an experienced user, you see some new unwanted javascript server from your site, or see strange new files in your website's code base that you know should not be there.

The top reasons why your website can become infected:

  1. Your Windows machine is infected, and passwords for your hosting have been stolen.
  2. Your Windows machine is infected, and the virus edits the files you upload via ftp when it views them as a target.
  3. Your Drupal code base has not been updated for a long time, and thus got hacked.
  4. Your server permissions are incorrect, allowing the hackers to upload code to the server.
  5. You have custom some code that was not written on the lap and has some blunt security holes. Did you hire a novice to write a module or theme for you because they would charge less?
  6. Because you tooks a code that you found somewhere on the web, and pasted it on your site or in some file on the server without being able to know clearly what is it you are pasting.
  7. You have a group of hackers who are actually targeting your website. This is rare, and this is also the worst case, because they will do a number of attempts if they for some reason chose you as their target.

I can resolve most crash cases and detect and remove most of the codebase infection. Should I encounter a hard case, you can count on me laying out the logic and the options before you responsibly.